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Southern Alberta group works to ban conversion therapy

Last Updated Sep 3, 2017 at 9:27 am MST

Max Aranguiz and Alan Peterson Reporter Lucas Meyer

It’s what some would call “praying away the gay”…

Conversion therapy continues in Alberta and other parts of the country.

Administrative coordinator of the Lethbridge Public Interest Research Group, Pirate Jen Takahashi says they’re petitioning to have the practice banned in Alberta.

The therapy, which attempts to convert people on the LGBTQ spectrum to heterosexuality, can take on many forms.

“Like prayer groups, and you go every week and try and ‘pray away the gay’ as they say and then it goes all the way across the spectrum up to, honestly, corrective rape,” said Takahashi. “In some ways it is illegal. A legitamite, psychologist, psychiatrist, counselor cannot offer these services. But, that’s not to say there aren’t professionals who do and more frequently it’s things that occur within churches.”

She adds, many people are forced to undergo often physically and emotionally debilitating therapies against their will.

“It’s not unrare for people to basically kidnap and take them across the border as well, to access more extreme forms of conversion therapy.”

To date, the practice is illegal in Ontario and Manitoba.

“It was banned in Ontario in response to a young trans woman who chose to end her life because of the traumas that she had suffered because of her identity, because of the conversion therapy and all of this, and so Ontario used that as a springboard to get that action going.”

They’re calling for people to sign a petition to have the practice banned in Alberta and across the country.

To sign, visit lpirg.org.